How to Level Up Your Office Furniture Buying

Learn what factors impact office furniture purchasing and how to take a more strategic approach to managing this category.

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Modern procurement teams care about more than the cost savings you achieve. Yes, finding new and greater opportunities for savings is important, but increasing procurement’s influence and becoming a strategic partner to the business are also top priorities. This means taking a more strategic approach to buying, and considering factors beyond price when making purchasing decisions.

While buying office furniture can be a major expense, there are many other factors to consider that impact the value that your program delivers to the organization and its employees. Here are a few ways that you can be more strategic when buying office furniture and maximize program value:

1. Stay Current With Workplace Trends

This doesn’t mean buying furniture every time new styles become available—rather, understand which trends are impacting the industry. Staying current with these key trends, and adapting your buying behavior accordingly, will help keep your employees happy and healthy.

Younger Generations Entering the Workplace

As younger generations join the workforce, they’re bringing new preferences with them—like a preference for working in a more collaborative environment. As a result, many offices are adapting a more open floor model with smaller personal workspaces and areas designed for group collaboration.

Keep this in mind when purchasing new furniture for the office and opt for more multi-purpose, collaboration-focused furniture and space-saving options for personal workspaces.

Advances in Technology

Technology enables us to be more connected than ever, making it easier for employees to work remotely. The challenge for procurement is finding the right solution for this group of employees, as well as monitoring this spend and internal compliance.

Streamline spend management in this area by establishing a program—complete with ergonomic standards and a budget for purchasing home office equipment—and clearly communicate it to the organization. Additionally, buying all of your office supply needs (including furniture) from a single supplier can help improve compliance.

Increased Focus on Employee Wellness

We’ve already covered how an organizational focus on employee wellness impacts the breakroom, but let’s look at it from an office furniture perspective. Experts agree that sitting all day can be harmful to your health for several reasons—according to the American Heart Association, spending too much time sitting actually increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and death.

In an effort to improve employee health and encourage less sedentary time, many organizations offer standing desks or other sit-to-stand options for employees. These can help keep employees happy and healthy, reducing absenteeism and turnover. Consider whether these options make sense for your organization, and if so, include them in your office furniture program going forward.

2. Aggregate All of Your Office-Related Spend

Office supplies retailers often sell a range of products outside of the traditional office supplies category – including furniture. We find that many companies are still purchasing office furniture from local or regional suppliers. But, there are many benefits to purchasing furniture through your office products supplier.

For example, buying office furniture through your office products supplier allows you to leverage your broader, national spend to secure better pricing. These larger suppliers often will also offer a wider range of options for delivery, including quick-ship programs, as well as full design services. And, consolidating this spend to a single supplier can also give procurement greater visibility into your organization’s spend and offer a more efficient approach to supplier management.

3. Let Someone Else do the Heavy Lifting

One thing we hear from procurement professionals is that they simply don’t have the time to manage spend across all of their indirect categories. And, that’s perfectly okay and understandable. Luckily, there’s a simple solution: partnering with a group purchasing organization (GPO).

A GPO can help you realize the benefits of a fully-managed office furniture (and broader office supplies) program while freeing up procurement teams to focus on more strategic initiatives. By providing category management resources that act as an extension of your procurement team, a GPO will help you maximize savings, ensure the right mix of products and services for your organization, take on supplier management and more.

In addition to having external category management resources dedicated to your program, the leveraged buying power of a GPO can also help you secure hard-to-beat pricing and contract terms.

Looking to optimize your office furniture spend?

Start by learning more about Corporate United’s Office Furniture program – contact us today.

Want to read more like this?

Check out "Top Trends Fueling the Office Furniture Industry."


Sonda Sahley: Category Management, Corporate Services at Corporate United
Sonda is responsible for Corporate Services Category Management at Corporate United. In this role, she serves as a category manager for office supplies, contract audit and translation services agreements. She works cross-functionally with stakeholders and suppliers to provide ongoing program support and she serves as a key advocate for Corporate United supplier relationships.